Cairns is the gateway to one of the natural wonders of the world – The Great Barrier Reef. That’s not all though! It offers some stunning natural beauty around the city on land too, while the city itself has a laid-back vibe, perfect for spending a few days before hitting the reef or heading to the country’s tropical north!

With everything going on in and around Cairns, it’s a hard choice where you should stay – to save money for experiencing Cairns’ natural wonders, it’s a great idea to stay in a hostel. Here, you’ll be looking at some pretty cool resort hostels, rather than the traditional idea of a grubby backpacker’s hostel.

With everything in mind, we’ve taken some time to check out the best hostels available in Cairns, to make planning your trip just that little bit easier.

Luckily, there’s a lot of choice. There are some chain hostels, some private, independent and homely places, and some hostels even come with pools and bars – like being in a hotel! So, without further ado, let’s see the best Cairns has to offer!

The Best Hostels Cairns: Round Up

Best overall hostel in Cairns: Travellers Oasis
Best party hostel in Cairns: Mad Monkey Backpackers Village
Best hostel for solo travellers in Cairns: Globetrotters International
Best hostel near Kuranda Scenic Railway: Tropic Days Backpackers
Best hostel near Cairns Aquarium: Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront
Best hostel near Cairns Museum: Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort
Best hostel near Cairns Airport: Summer House Cairns
Best hostel near Cairns Railway Station: Dreamtime Travellers Rest
Best hostel near Cairns City Bus Station: Cairns Central YHA
Best high-end hostel in Cairns: Bohemia Resort Cairns
Best cheap hostel in Cairns: Caravella Central
Best hostel with private rooms in Cairns: JJ’s Backpackers
Best resort style hostel in Cairns: Bounce Cairns
Best female only hostel in Cairns: Girls Hostel

21 Best Hostels in Cairns

Best overall hostel in Cairns

Travellers Oasis

Travellers Oasis 

Travellers Oasis  is the best overall hostel in Cairns

Why we like Travellers Oasis…
This chilled out and relaxed hostel is a guest favourite, and that’s just one of many reasons that it’s the best hostel in Cairns. It’s perfectly located, close to the bus and train stations, but still in a quiet area. We love that you can spend the day lying in a hammock by the swimming pool!

Travellers Oasis is perfect for…
Travellers Oasis is a great place to stay for a number of reasons. If you’re looking to meet people, socialising poolside or enjoying a BBQ on the outdoor terrace are both great ways to break the ice. You’re pretty close to everything too, so you can balance your time between pampering yourself at the hostel and seeing what the city has to offer!

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Best party hostel in Cairns

Mad Monkey Backpackers Village

Mad Monkey Backpackers Village

Mad Monkey Backpackers Village is the best party hostel in Cairns

Why we like Mad Monkey Backpackers Village…
The first of 3 Mad Monkeys Backpackers hostels on this list (yes, they really are good)! Mad Monkey Backpackers Village is an excellent place if you want to meet other travellers at the outdoor poolside bar for a few tinnies or something a little stronger, before hitting the bars and clubs of Cairns.

Mad Monkey Backpackers Village is perfect for…
If you want to go out in Cairns but want to save cash by having a few cheaper drinks at your hostel, this is a great option! There are also events on every single night in the hostel every day and night, as well as an on-site restaurant, meaning that you don’t have to leave to quell your hangover the next day!

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Editor’s Note – Heading to Sydney next? Check out our post about the incredible hostels in Sydney!

Best hostel for solo travellers in Cairns

Globetrotters International

Globetrotters International

Globetrotters International is the best hostel for solo travellers in Cairns

Why we like Globetrotters International…
This sociable and eco-friendly hostel is the perfect place to stay if you’re travelling solo and want to meet some new friends. We love the free activities regularly on offer, meaning that it’s super easy to get chatting to your fellow travellers! Although it’s a great place to meet people, Globetrotters international isn’t a party hostel.

Globetrotters International is perfect for…
If you’re travelling solo and you want to travel responsibly and ecologically, then Globetrotters International is perfect for that. As well as offering a chance to meet like-minded travellers, the hostel is solar powered, uses ethical and organic products, and has recycling programs on site.

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Best hostel near Kuranda Scenic Railway

Tropic Days Backpackers

Tropic Days Backpackers 

Tropic Days Backpackers is the best hostel near Kuranda Scenic Railway

Why we like Tropic Days Backpackers…
So, a little disclaimer. Tropic Days Backpackers isn’t near Kuranda Scenic Railway, but they have some great knowledge around the surrounding area and some great deals on tours to nearby attractions, meaning if you want to take the scenic railway, then staying here is a good bet! We love the landscaped gardens too!

Tropic Days Backpackers is perfect for…
If you want to go on tours not just to Kuranda Scenic Railway, but the Great Barrier Reef amongst other places, then Tropic Days is a great option. It’s a great place to chill too – the landscaped gardens, swimming pool, quiet location, and hammocks all see to that – and it’s all at a very reasonable price too!

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Best hostel near Cairns Aquarium

Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront

Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront

Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront is the best hostel near Cairns Aquarium

Why we like Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront…
Our second Mad Monkey offering, this one is perfect if you want to be close to the city’s aquarium as it’s only a block away, or a 6-minute walk! You’re also right on the waterfront, meaning that you can enjoy the views over the Esplanade Lagoon, and upload them straight to Instagram thanks to the super-fast WiFi throughout the hostel!

Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront is perfect for…
If you want to be close to not only the aquarium but in a great location with access to a number of the city’s sights, then Mad Monkey Backpackers Waterfront should be high up on your list! Sociable travellers will love it, as it’s easy to meet new friends here in the outdoor BBQ area, or while cooking in the fully-equipped kitchen!

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P.S. – Save a bit of cash in Melbourne with our EPIC guide to the coolest hostels in Melbourne!

Best hostel near Cairns Museum

Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort

Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort 

Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort is the best hostel near Cairns Museum

Why we like Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort…
This chilled out hostel, complete with a lagoon style swimming pool, is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Cairns Museum, making it the best place to stay if you want to head there and learn about the city’s history and culture. It’s a great place to watch the big game on the huge plasma screens with a drink or two!

Gilligan’s Backpacker Hotel & Resort is perfect for…
Gilligan’s is a great place to relax, kick back, and share a story or two with other travellers. Reasonably priced rooms mean that you can travel in relative luxury without the price tag to match. It’s a good option if you want to stay in a party hostel too – there’s an onsite nightclub where you can dance the night away!

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Best hostel near Cairns Airport

Summer House Cairns

Summer House Cairns 

Summer House Cairns is the best hostel near Cairns Airport

Why we like Summer House Cairns…
Summer House Cairns is the closest hostel to Cairns Airport, so logically it’s the best place to stay if you want to be close by! The resort style hostel offers a pool, a volleyball court, and loads of shared spaces – so if you were thinking that you’d be staying in a characterless airport hotel, think again!

Summer House Cairns is perfect for…
If you have an early morning flight or are arriving late at night, staying close to the airport can save a lot of hassle and stress. Therefore, Summer House is perfect if you’re looking for that. Beds here are very reasonably priced as well, and although it’s further out of the centre than other resort hostels, it’s very kind on the wallet!

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Recommended Article – Take a look at our AMAZING guide to the most awesome hostels in Byron Bay!

Best hostel near Cairns Railway Station

Dreamtime Travellers Rest

Dreamtime Travellers Rest 

Dreamtime Travellers Rest is the best hostel near Cairns Railway Station

Why we like Dreamtime Travellers Rest…
This small independent hostel is full of character, but best of all it’s just a short walk from Cairns Railway Station, making it the perfect place to stay if your onward journey is by rail. Enjoying the free breakfast in the landscaped garden with a view of the pool is the most perfectly relaxing way to wake up!

Dreamtime Travellers Rest is perfect for…
Because it’s so close to the train station, it’s the perfect place to stay if you’ve got a train journey either early in the morning or late at night. Or simply if you don’t want to lug your heavy backpack too far! The setting means it’s perfect if you want to spend your time in total relaxation when you’re not exploring the city too.

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Best hostel near Cairns City Bus Station

Cairns Central YHA

Cairns Central YHA 

Cairns Central YHA is the best hostel near Cairns City Bus Station

Why we like Cairns Central YHA…
This large and comfortable hostel is right in the centre of Cairns, and most importantly just a short walk from the city bus station, making it the best place to stay if you have a bus connection. If that’s not enough, there’s also a free daily pancake breakfast and the outdoor games area is a great place to meet fellow travellers!

Cairns Central YHA is perfect for…
Sociable travellers who want to be close to the centre of the action in Cairns, and still have one eye on the bus they’re catching out of the city will find that Cairns Central YHA is perfectly suited to their needs. Film buffs will love it too – there’s a big screen by the pool for some memorable movie nights!

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Best high-end hostel in Cairns

Bohemia Resort Cairns

Bohemia Resort Cairns 

Bohemia Resort Cairns is the best high-end hostel in Cairns

Why we like Bohemia Resort Cairns…
This premium, upmarket hostel is an excellent place to stay if you don’t mind splashing the cash for a little more luxurious experience while you’re in Cairns. There’s no lack of facilities – a salt water pool, air-conditioned TV lounge, and outdoor spa are all at your disposal during your stay!

Bohemia Resort Cairns is perfect for…
Travellers who want to treat themselves after a long time on the road will love Bohemia Resort Cairns. There’s a choice between dorms or private rooms, and some of them even come with private balconies. It’s very easy to forget that you’re not in a luxury hotel when you’re staying here!

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Best cheap hostel in Cairns

Caravella Central

Caravella Central 

Caravella Central is the best cheap hostel in Cairns

Why we like Caravella Central…
This no-frills hostel is in an excellent location – just minute away from the best bars and clubs in the centre and the large shopping centre Woolworth’s. We love that the rooms are clean and that every night there’s a discounted meal where all the hostel guests are welcome!

Caravella Central is perfect for…
Travellers on a budget will love Caravella Central, as beds are superbly priced, and the aforementioned discounted meal is an added bonus. It’s within walking distance of everything too, meaning no shelling out for taxis! You’ll even get an additional 10% off tours here, to the areas around Cairns and further afield in Australia.

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Best hostel with private rooms in Cairns

JJ’s Backpackers

JJ’s Backpackers 

JJ’s Backpackers is the best hostel with private rooms in Cairns

Why we like JJ’s Backpackers…
This small and friendly hostel offers some great options of private rooms, meaning it’s the best place to stay if you don’t fancy sharing a room! The hostel was awarded the “best staff” for two consecutive years, meaning you know that you’ll be greeted and welcomed like a member of the family.

JJ’s Backpackers is perfect for…
Couples or long-term travellers who need a bit of time away from shared rooms will be delighted with JJ’s Backpackers. There are single, double, and triple rooms available. It’s also worth thinking about if you’re part of a group of friends or family travelling to the city together!

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Best resort style hostel in Cairns

Bounce Cairns

Bounce Cairns 

Bounce Cairns is the best resort style hostel in Cairns

Why we like Bounce Cairns…
Of all the resort-style hostels in Cairns, it’s hard to pick the best one. However, Bounce just edges it for a few reasons, including a free hot breakfast and free airport transfers! We love the social areas and the nightly events, perfect for meeting fellow travellers that you haven’t already chatted with when lounging in the pool!

Bounce Cairns is perfect for…
If you want to stay in a really great resort hostel, look no further than Bounce Cairns! As well as the excellent social areas, there’s places to wash your clothes, and all rooms come with en-suite bathrooms. It’s going to feel just like a home away from home when you stay here!

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Best female only hostel in Cairns

Girls Hostel

Girls Hostel

Girls Hostel is the best female only hostel in Cairns

Why we like Girls Hostel…
This hostel, open only to female travellers is a great option if you want to meet other women on your travels. The building has a little history behind it, the ‘Queenslander’ was the site of the first Cairns department store in 1930. It’s perfect for a good night’s sleep, as it’s clean and quiet.

Girls Hostel is perfect for…
Female travellers who want to stay in a secure and safe environment will love staying at Girls Hostel. It’s great if you’re on a budget too with reasonably priced and small dorms, or private rooms at very affordable prices. Sorry boys, you’re not welcome here!

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Other best hostels in Cairns

Castaways Backpackers Cairns

Castaways Backpackers Cairns

Castaways Backpackers Cairns

Why we like Castaways Backpackers Cairns…
This family-run hostel is a welcoming home away from home for travellers in Cairns. With over 20 years of experience, Castaways has become one of the top places to stay in the city, thanks to facilities like a spacious and comfortable lounge and chillout area, a good location, and treating its guests very, very nicely.

Castaways Backpackers Cairns is perfect for…
If you’re feeling a bit homesick, then Castaways is a good option as you’ll be treated like family! It’s also a great opportunity to meet other travellers thanks to the communal lounge. If you’re sick of getting the top bunk, you don’t need to worry about that here as all beds are regular!

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Gecko Backpackers Cairns Pty Ltd

Gecko Backpackers Cairns Pty Ltd

Gecko Backpackers Cairns Pty Ltd

Why we like Gecko Backpackers Cairns Pty Ltd…
This centrally located hostel is a great option if you want the perks of a resort hotel, but don’t want to get involved in the heavy drinking and parties, as there’s no alcohol on site here! The traditional Queenslander style architecture is a great way to see some of the city’s traditions!

Gecko Backpackers Cairns Pty Ltd is perfect for…
Thanks to its proximity to many of the sites in Cairns city centre, Gecko Backpackers is the perfect place to stay if you want to be close to the action but also to get away from the hustle and bustle when you feel like it. It’s super safe, and a great place if you’re looking to sleep the whole night through!

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MUST READ – Take a look at our guide to the most awesome hostels near Sydney Airport!

Calypso Backpackers

Calypso Backpackers 

Calypso Backpackers

Why we like Calypso Backpackers…
The palm-lined pool is just one of the reasons that Calypso Backpackers is a great place to stay during your trip to Cairns. Budget travellers will like the hostel due to the amount of stuff on offer for free – including a poolside breakfast, transfers to the airport, bus, and train stations, and WiFi in all the rooms!

Calypso Backpackers is perfect for…
If you want a sociable hostel with a pool and a lot of extras thrown in for a reasonable price, then look no further than Calypso Backpackers. If you don’t want to go far for your food, enjoy the on-site Zanzibar pub, where you can also meet fellow travellers and have a couple of beers!

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Asylum Cairns

Asylum Cairns

Asylum Cairns

Why we like Asylum Cairns…
If you want to meet fellow travellers over some cool and fun events, then take Asylum Cairns into consideration. We love the Monday BBQ night complete with steak, lamb chops, chicken wings, and salad. There’s also a chance to win some prizes at a weekly Sunday night trivia quiz! If you arrived feeling lonely, you certainly won’t leave that way!

Asylum Cairns is perfect for…
Whether you want to just chill by the pool with a beer (you can bring your own), or go out and party with new friends, Asylum Cairns is great for both of those things! It’s one of the few BYOB hostels in Cairns, and there’s even a large fridge just for beer. So, if you like a drink, look no further than Asylum!

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The Jack Backpackers

The Jack Backpackers

The Jack Backpackers

Why we like The Jack Backpackers…
This centrally located party hostel is just minutes away from all the best bars, clubs, and shops of central Cairns. It’s a quick walk to the Lagoon too! The travel desk here will help you organise trips to the Great Barrier Reef or the nearby Daintree Rainforest – with the best local recommendations thrown in too!

The Jack Backpackers is perfect for…
Budget travellers will love this party hostel – as well as very reasonably priced dorms and private rooms, the Jack offers free dinners, free WiFi, and free lockers to keep your stuff safe! However, before you book just be aware that this is a licensed venue which serves alcohol until 2am. If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, maybe think about one of the other options on our list!

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Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns

Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns

Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns

Why we like Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns…
Another Mad Monkey hostel? Really? Yes, really, because they’re so good! This one serves up a hot breakfast and cheap drinks to entice you over their other two! Of course, it has a pool too. If you’ve had a bit too much sun, head inside to one of the common areas. We especially love the one that has FIFA!

Mad Monkey Backpackers Cairns is perfect for…
If you are quite happy not leaving your hostel, there’s so much to do that the Mad Monkey is the perfect place to stay – a pool, outdoor cinema, on-site pizza restaurant with discount for guests, a games room, you name it – it seems like they’ve got it! If you’ve overindulged on food and drink during your trip, you’ll also have free bike rental and gym access here!

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Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront

Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront

Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront

Why we like Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront…
Another offering from the Caravella chain, this safe and central hostel offers free airport pickup and a dinner deal every night! You can meet fellow travellers around the pool, or in the common areas. If you’re not feeling super sociable, you can use the free WiFi instead!

Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront is perfect for…
Travellers who want a clean and reasonably priced hostel that still has a pool, Caravella Backpackers on the Waterfront is a great option! You’re sure to be in complete comfort, as all of the rooms are air-conditioned. You’re close to the lagoon and city centre attractions too, so it’s really easy to see the best that Cairns has to offer!

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Waterfront Backpackers Cairns

Waterfront Backpackers Cairns 

Waterfront Backpackers Cairns

Why we like Waterfront Backpackers Cairns…
Unsurprisingly, this friendly little hostel is right on the Waterfront, with excellent views of the lagoon, the sun-baking park, and the palm tree-lined shore. Because it’s such a small hostel, staff remember the names of all the guests, so you’ll feel welcome and at home here! They’ll also be super helpful when it comes to booking tours nearby or further afield!

Waterfront Backpackers Cairns is perfect for…
If you’re looking for a friendly and authentic experience of Cairns, then consider staying at Waterfront Backpackers. It’s perfect for the active traveller, as they offer excellent discounts on a range of tours and activities available in the area! You’re also close to many of the city centre sights, restaurants, and supermarkets.

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Cairns City Backpackers

Cairns City Backpackers

Cairns City Backpackers

Why we like Cairns City Backpackers…
Cairns City Backpackers has a lot to offer travellers, including a 24-hour check-in service, free tea and coffee, and a free book exchange. The second two you can enjoy in the shady backyard, lounging around the swimming pool, or in the TV and tropical area. Sounds good, right?!

Cairns City Backpackers is perfect for…
International travellers looking for a clean and well-priced bed will have no complaints about Cairns City Backpackers. Dorms have air-conditioning, and there’s just a small fee if you want it in your private room. If you like having a few drinks, the shaded hammocks are the perfect place to sleep off that hangover!

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Aspect Central

Aspect Central 

Aspect Central

Why we like Aspect Central…
More of a contemporary boutique motel than a hostel, Aspect Central offers some tastefully decorated yet reasonably priced private rooms. Each room has a different design and feel to it. It’s in a great location too – close to the city CBD and Cairns Esplanade foreshore. It’s just a quick drive to the city’s airport too!

Aspect Central is perfect for…
Business travellers or digital nomads will love Aspect Central. Although there’s the opportunity to meet other travellers in the common areas, it’s set apart by having conference spaces and a high-speed wireless broadband connection throughout all areas of the accommodation. There’s an onsite restaurant and a pool too, meaning there’s ample opportunity to balance work and pleasure!

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Hides Hotel

Hides Hotel 

Hides Hotel

Why we like Hides Hotel…
This hotel has a range of private room sizes, all at an affordable price in the centre of Cairns. And if you don’t want to walk around, you can always hop on public transport, which you’ll find less than 100m from the door of the accommodation. There’s also a tour desk which will help you find good prices on trips to other Aussie destinations!

Hides Hotel is perfect for…
Families and couples who don’t want to share a room with strangers and are on more of a flashpacker’s budget will like Hides Hotel, especially if they want to be close to all of the action in the city centre! This place is really cool as it manages to combine charming, budget, modern, and corporate effortlessly!

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Conclusion

So, there we go. We’ve had a detailed look at the best hostels on offer in Cairns, so we really think that there’s something on our extensive list that will suit your travel style, itinerary, and most importantly – your budget!

We wouldn’t want you end up stressed and flustered in such a cool and laid-back city!

Hostels are a great way to get around, as travelling across Australia can prove to be pretty expensive. So, with the money you’ll save you’ll hopefully have enough to see the natural wonders near Cairns and travel on to other areas of this vast country.

Don’t forget our #1 hostel choice – Travellers Oasis. However, wherever you choose to stay we hope you have the time of your life!

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***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)

 

Clair Ricketts

Clair Ricketts

Clair is a travel addict and a staff writer for One Weird Globe! A Nomad since birth, Clair has lived all over the world, calling home wherever she is in the moment. Having traveled half the world, Clair is working on a memoir about her experiences in hopes to inspire others to travel and experience this amazing planet!
Clair Ricketts